‘Fight club’ is a hot school board issue
Parent claims officials have known about it for two years but little has been done
LINDSAY — A recently-posted video of students engaged in an alleged “fight club” has sparked a focus on student conduct and bullying.
The matter was brought forward during Tuesday night's (Oct. 22) Trillium Lakelands District School Board regular meeting by trustee John Byrne.
Superintendent of learning Katherine MacIver said the board is working closely with principals — who are working closely with the police — after a video showing two students fighting went viral on social media.
The posting was meant to draw attention to an alleged “fight club” involving Central Senior Public School students.
Although incidents have occurred off school property and/or outside school hours, MacIver said the board is obligated to address the matter.
It is still a part of the board’s Code of Conduct. Violations can result in suspension and/or expulsion.
“Right now, we’re focusing on holding students accountable for their actions. We’re trying to be proactive,” said MacIver.
Director of education Larry Hope said the board has a strong working relationship with local police and trusts issues will be addressed.
However, he noted “sometimes social media creates a bigger problem than it solves,” adding the video posting and subsequent media coverage let the matter take on a “life of its own.”
Hope added the attention has led to more discussion and awareness of the issue.
Trustee Don Alton confirmed this, noting he has received calls from parents saying their child has been bullied at school, but have never said anything to anyone.
Meanwhile, another parent has reached out to Kawartha
Lakes This Week and MyKawartha.com to share his son’s experience with the alleged fight club bullies.
He said his son and his friends had their first run-in with the group before school ended last year — and they went to the principal about it. "Tom Adelaide," whose name we’ve changed to protect the identity of his son, said his boy and his friends were confronted by a group of bullies at Central Senior when his son’s friend had a new bike. His son stood up for his friend.
“Then my son became a target,” Adelaide said. “They said he was going to fight whether he liked it or not."
Instead, Adelaide’s son reached out to his father. Together, they went to the principal. Adelaide said he stayed to talk with the principal while his son and his friends left to go to the Tim Hortons down the street.
Adelaide said a group of 15 to 20 students surrounded him and his friends once they reached Hortons, telling them to fight.
Luckily, Adelaide was nearby and arrived before things escalated. He called police.
Adelaide said the police let him know that they were aware of alleged fight club videos. He said the school told him it would do something, but that it turned out just to be a “slap on the wrist.”
“They’ve known about this for two years now,” he said. “These kids are just relentless ... I think they need to crack down harder on these kids and start charging them.”
Students at Victoria Park in Lindsay exchange blows as a group watches. The violence was captured on video and is being shared by parents concerned a "fight club" at school is harming students.